Nothing says spring like the first harvests of greenhouse-grown spinach and brightly colored spring onions!
The Mill City Farmers Market’s recipe for potato and spring onion soup that follows is a perfect way to transition from winter to spring — respecting the remaining potatoes stored in root cellars since October harvests and paying homage to vibrant new green vegetables, which add crunch and lightness to our plates after the heaviness of a long winter.
Despite their modest reputation, potatoes — which are members of the nightshade family along with eggplant, peppers and tomatoes — are actually nutrition powerhouses. Nutrition value varies depending on the variety of potato you eat, but in general they are an excellent source (greater than 10 percent of your daily recommended value) of fiber, iron and vitamin C.
Spring onions, with their long green leaves, are onions harvested before the plant is mature. They are only available in the spring and early summer. They also contain fiber and vitamin C but are best known for their high amounts of a variety of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural chemicals in plant-based foods that can help prevent disease.
Last but definitely not least is spinach. Available locally the majority of the year and extremely adaptable in cooking (soups, smoothies, sauces …), this dark leafy green is packed with heart-healthy nutrients that support digestion, strong bones and more.
Find these spring vegetables, radishes, mushrooms and more at the Mill City Farmers Market’s final indoor market on April 28th and outside every Saturday starting May 5th.
Potato and spring onion soup with spinach pesto
By market chef Nettie Colón
You can make this soup a meal by topping it with ham, bacon or peas. Or simply garnish it with this spinach pesto for a humble spring first course. Serves 4.
For the soup
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup onions, diced
- Salt, to taste
- freshly ground white pepper
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock or more as needed
- 1/2 cup milk or more as needed
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes and onions and toss them in the butter until well coated.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with a butter wrapper or paper lid and the lid of the saucepan. Sweat on a gentle heat for approximately 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil. When the vegetables are soft, add the boiling stock and continue to cook for about 10–15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Add the milk and purée the soup in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasoning.
For the pesto
- 4 cups baby spinach (or 3 cups spinach and 1 cup basil)
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic gloves
- Optional: 1/4 cup of any toasted nut (pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
- 1/2 cup olive oil (add more if you like it saucy)
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste
Begin by placing the spinach, lemon and garlic into a food processor. Pulse until nicely chopped (30 seconds or so). While it’s pulsing, slowly add in olive oil, then the parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Swirl leftovers into other soups, beans, salads, pasta, or use as a sauce for chicken, fish, pork and lamb. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.